I started a road trip tradition in a very unexpected way. Coming into a town I suddenly got a notification that there was a massive stretch of road construction in front of me. I stopped at a great little diner to have lunch and plan an alternative route. It turned out to be a great alternative route which detoured me through Benton, Illinois with a Jail Museum. Benton has ties to both George Harrison and John Malkovich. A really fun stop.
While I was enjoying my lunch, I heard the family at the booth across from me mention they were headed the same direction I was going. I leaned across and advised them of the road construction ahead and shared my planned detour. I also told them about The Jail Museum.
I finished my lunch and headed out to the museum. As I entered the third room of The Jail Museum, I saw the family come in the entrance.
So, now when I travel, when I make a stop to eat, sleep or see an attraction, I listen to other people. If I hear they are traveling the same route I am traveling, whether they are going in the same direction I am or the opposite direction, I strike up a conversation and share locations I like along their route.
At three separate occasions, The Corn Palace, A Salt Mine and a Kansas diner, the people I talked to joined me at the upcoming attraction and shared it with me. I keep in touch with two of those families and hope we can share a road trip together some day. And in many instances, these encounters result in a lovely sharing of our favorite stops along the route.
I believe that driving trips offer a great opportunity for community, Airline travel is a very isolating event. You may talk to the stranger sitting next to you (or across the aisle in the Covid world). Bus and train travel is the same environment. Driving trips allows us to come into constant contact with new travelers and people providing entertainment, food and lodging - and still honoring social distancing.
My dream is to schedule group road trips where we can share the road together while taking advantage of discounted meals, motels and sights. These road trips would allow people to travel the entire route or pop on and off for portions of the trip. These are not bus trips. Everyone would use their own transportation, and we would end each day with a nice meal and a few drinks and time to share our stories of the road.
I'm looking forward to hearing your road trip sagas and your hints and suggestions on what makes your road trip the best road trip.
See you on the road.